hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Inspired

Lines, lines, lines…seems the story of all of our lives these days. Yet, slowly but surely we are adjusting. Some adjust more easily than others,travelling along the road of least resistance.

With our everyday lives in this upheaval you MUST MAKE yourself take time out and slow it down a bit, notice the simple and beautiful things.. forget that many say I just want to go here or there, pick up this or that and get away from the reality nonsense. Many of us are “empty-nesters”, many are simply alone, therefore the challenges of meal preparation often falls to the way-side and take-out/fast food/delivery become the go-to plan. No matter how I try to resist I find myself in line waiting on food at least 3X’s a week. It proves both costly and annoying..but what to do?

This morning an INSPIRED situation was relayed to me. Here it is;

What would you think if after sitting in line at your local favorite fast food spot, for 20 minutes or longer, once you got to the window to pay the cashier told you it had already been taken care of. What you you think? My answer in this time of uncertainty and disdain.. I said,” I would think someone was paying it forward, what a nice kind thing to do.”

Later it was revealed to me the person relaying the story was the person who had actually done the good deed. I was not surprised but still I could not stop smiling. I will leave the who out of this piece, for I pay homage to her regularly. I will say this I was NOT surprised because I KNOW her and the nature of her being. I hope everyone has such a person in their lives to balance out the uneven times. I am now challenged to be simply INSPIRED for no apparent reason. I hope YOU, my audience, are as well.

Paralyzed

Physically it must be unbearable..captured, bound, unable to move. The inability to escape a situation. Yet,our minds can become just as helpless. I found myself in that place. Seeing so many things within the reach of my outstretched hand but somehow unable to muster the strength, the will to do anything but be aware of how close I was to the very thing I wanted or needed.  Still I hesitated.

Never does it occur to you that our very own emotions and subconscious controls us with such magnitude, that we are just frail little beings, unable to fend for themselves. Being paralyzed reminds us of that weaken state that is slowly or rapidly (depends on perspective) approaching..OUR  AGE/OUR MORTALITY.

Sometimes it hurts when we move this way, sometimes I cannot recall where I put whatever,  or a statement like , I sure miss so-in-so, they left us here far too soon, becomes far too familiar. There is our task, to remember WE ARE STILL HERE! Battle against nature and the physical awareness, that we are no longer what we used to be.

I am a bit of an expert on a subject that I, by-no-means wanted to become an expert on. Yet it happened anyway. I sometimes sit in my place surrounded by memories, photographically and memory induced. I cannot believe I am not screaming to the tops-of-my-lungs in anguish and hurt. Believe this, it is not because I do NOT feel the pain. Rather it is because I often time am NOT able to truly comprehend what I have lived through, nor what I am actually feeling. I sit, awestruck, unable to move, and very much paralyzed.

Be it physical or mental that inability to move is still real. The helpless feeling is ever-present and overwhelming. What are we to do? The solution does seem obvious and simple..just move and keep moving, that is until you get stuck and stop. Then you are once again paralyzed.

The Cops ARE The Klan

For the purpose of this piece AND in my mind, there IS a difference between COPS and the POLICE.

To many in the African American community good cops are the exception, NOT the rule. I know this is not a popular thought pattern for our Anglo counterparts, but it is truth none-the-less.

It pains me to have to repeatedly write pieces that have this type of content. I long for the day when I can say “It once was…” that day is not here, not now . Therefore as the daughter of a black man, the wife of a black man, the mother of two black men, the cousin/aunt/ friend of black men and now the grandmother of a future black man I write from my heart, I speak from my reality, I bare my soul.

Once they rode cloaked in hoods covered by the night, they did the unspeakable while only their “kind” watched approvingly. When daylight came the evidence of their horrific INHUMANE deeds visible to all began to meet with scrutiny and judged unpopular they slithered away, waiting for an opportunity to rise up and show themselves for what they still were, again. Law, order, human rights and civility came to the forefront as the world watched. They were displaced, their Christian views and values could NOT stand up to the heinous acts they committed. Now they were the hunted, now they were the undesirables, now no one even the ones who had a similar physical appearance wanted anything to do with them. Their backers portrayed them as ignorant volatile characters prone to violence, not civilized beings like the people who paid for this organization to exist. The big picture was the klan is NOT anyone, at least not anyone you know or want to know.

In order to survive,they had to change. They had to fit in, they had to now more than before look like everybody else. They had to change their appearance;the image had to get an overhaul. After all if you are doing nothing wrong, why do you hide your face. Enter David Duke, clean cut, clean shaven in a suit. The words he spoke were clear and  rather soft spoken, he was not shouting. The illusion of reasonable was all about him, so HE and HIS kind started slowly”mainstreaming”. The hoods missing but the message still the same.  The klan looked different… on the surface.  Bare in mind all monster don’t scare you initially, because they look like the guy who lives next door or down the street. Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy lived next door to and down the street from someone too.

The image of the overweight sheriff with a southern drawl was transformed into a young college graduate and his agenda was..Law and Order. What better place for an aspiring klansman than your local police precinct AND furthermore he did NOT have to have a college degree. The new cloak of cover was a badge and the hidden agenda protected by the thin blue line. Brotherhood, camaraderie quietly protected disparaging treatment and illegal acts. Oh but what would we do without the police?

In the white community they visit schools, wave at the kids playing in the streets of their suburban neighborhoods as they slowly drive by. In the black community lights flashing, sirens screaming and when a police car drives by slowly it is because they are silently issuing a threat, not presenting reassurance.

I MUST again state all POLICE are NOT bad, all are NOT klansmen. Yet when the word reform is mentioned, there is a cry of FOUL. Why don’t you want to make changes in a system that clearly has flaws? When you say that there is NO WRONG DOING, the system works just fine..  you either prove you are uniformed or you are as corrupt as you are being accused of . “Thou doth protest too much”.  Let’s face it, the policing organization in general was infiltrated, PERIOD. Once again we find an organization needing re-packaging, re-imagining, re-purposing. These two organizations which, by all accounts, should be as polar opposite as can be still share a common thread. The image requires an overhaul, but do understand the image is NOT ALL THAT MUST CHANGE.

Tryin To Forget You Were Just A Waste Of Time

Is that true? Is it that simple? I do not agree. You can analyze and document your time as though relationships are on-the-clock. Yet in the end it is simply humans trying to explain away one more thing we do not understand.

Indigenous people, the ancient Romans and Greeks utilized stories of these amazing super powerful all knowing beings to justify claps of thunder or lack of water. Sometimes life became so enthralling that these superior individuals graced mere mortals with their passion and love. In the end the differences were too vast, the goals were too unattainable, the payoff was just out of reach. The mortal was left in a shambles, the gods returned to their intended place only slightly scathed, and the world though disrupted managed to continue.

When is time wasted? If the outcome is not what you wanted does NOT constitute a waste, rather it is just an outcome you would have preferred to be different. Consider this, suppose you did have it YOUR way but in the end it still was not what you wanted or expected..still think a waste of time? No… take a second look. Things pan-out appropriately for the time. To your liking or disliking, but it is not a waste of time. Don’t try to forget it, that would be a disservice.

Conflicted

How do we hope to figure out this thing called life. We exist in the present while our pasts are so fresh it seems like only yesterday when we walked across that stage.

To move forward we must not keep looking back.  Yet we cannot ignore the fact there is something back there.

In the present you wait for the perpetual “shoe to drop.” The relationship that was wonderful and unexpected happens. In the end there were only moments. The highs never could surpass the disappointments of the lows, or the stirs of reality.

As you anticipated the beautiful afternoon interludes, you now anticipate and search for a way to let them down easy. In the back of your mind you hope they will decide to just drop you, so you don’t have to be the “bad guy”. You know you can live with yourself. Secretly, you really wish it would have worked out.  Realizing the switch has been turned off, you still search for your feelings. You put it out there, you want advice and hint at this. You do however, realize you put your friends and confidants in a position of being blamed if their suggestions or comments are taken to heart and it still turns out badly.

We all search for the ultimate solution one that will make us feel good or even one that will end well. I was once told and repeatedly share, “Sometimes things have to end badly or they simply won’t end.

” Speak kindly of me, my love.” There are the fond memories and “We’ll always have Paris”

 

Yet, You Were Never Mine in The First Place

Destined for the sheer joy and heartbreak associated with the emotions connected with LOVE, we jump in head first, time and time again.  Many times we are rewarded with the spoils of these experiences. That which is greater than ourselves occurs. A creation that is simply the byproduct of the best we could ever muster from ourselves. In the midst of our joy, it NEVER enters our minds that we would be wise to be aware that NOTHING lasts forever. WHY would we mar our experience, our relationship, our joy with logic reality, and maybe a bit of a downer.

The crescendo,the climax, the finale is EARTHSHAKING. What an understatement. From the beginning there were not just warning signs: caution lights and sirens rang out but I proceeded as though I was unaware of them. The “universe” has a way of fixing things, the balance WILL BE restored. As human beings we think or allow ourselves to think we control situations..why not, it feels good and right. As time passes and these elements settle into place we relax and let our guard down.

I AM a thief. I stole you and retribution came-a-calling. It was NOT making any deals, it wanted back that which I had taken. It did not listen when I said that I was NOT being treacherous, it was not my intention, or fault. I did not invite, but I also did NOT turn away or send that which did NOT belong to me back. As it whisked you away I did not even have a final look. I awoke to your no longer being here with me. An empty that feels like a well that is deep and flows into subterranean caves, never to return.

You miss being loved. There is no magic potion to fix the emptiness, no serum to soothe the aching heart, nothing anesthetizes your mind. I shall for all my remaining days face the fact You were never mine in the first place.

Watermelon

Tomorrow is trash day. I have to remember to get all of the food related debris that would potentially cause odors and attract flies out of the outside freezer and place them in the actual trash for the early morning pick-up. A daunting task.. Along with that I must cut the watermelon I purchased. I decided to stop being lazy AND PAYING 3x’s the price for cut up fruit. Okay, if I am honest I came to this conclusion not of my own accord.

Being healthier is tough, we all want to be, we all need to be, yet it still presents a problem. These problems real, imaginary, or exaggerated still manage to manifest. I did not cut that melon when I bought it Monday afternoon,  for the previously mentioned reasons and then of course there was the one other that I did not.

Next month will mark a year since I became a widow. While I can never forget that fact, on a daily basis I find a way to move through this place on a somewhat “normal plane”. The unexpected reminders will forever “throw-me-for-a-loop”. That watermelon..We would shop for groceries…one of the two types of stores(hardware being the other) I did not care to go to. Monday evening I took a deep breath and approached the melons, after I HAD gone to the refrigerated section in produce and looked at the cut up fruits. The display boasted two bins filled with the  “round-ish” green striped fruits.  I thought of all the “techniques” I heard over the years, thumps this way, look for this type mark ,sniff.. wait in a COVID19 world sniffing is virtually impossible and frowned upon at the very least.  I hastily looked them over, decided on one and took it home.

Later that night it came to me in a semi-dream state..My husband’s hands. He would painstakingly organize the fridge in HIS domain, and I cared NOT. Though I am a very capable and, in the opinion of some, a rather good cook. I just do not enjoy it as a couple of my sister/friends do. After enduring a grocery trip I would be free to escape the putting away of the food because again, this was my husband’s domain. However, I did enjoy food prep. I was his tester, be it something he had cooked or the fruit he  prepared/sliced up for the family. Mangoes and melons; the fragrance always resonated through the house. I can smell them even now. I  still can see him in the kitchen cutting them up and calling me to taste a perfectly sweet fruit. He always said he knew exactly what he was doing when it came to picking out fruits.  When I cut open that melon today the aroma took me back to one of those many random nights, I saw him cut a piece of melon, offer it to me, and place it in my mouth. I recall his hands; from the fingernails to his wrists, the hairs on them, the color of his skin, the touch/his touch.  The only thing I did slightly familiar was pick out a melon and experience the aroma. It was not even a very good one.

No Human’s Land

Not a lot to do these days. I search for a safe place to gather my thoughts and try to put them out. I decided to mask up and go to a local mall, because friends and associates had reported the malls were virtually vacant. I am not a daredevil therefore felt relatively safe especially with not many others around.

Armed with my mask, travel sized Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer spritz and gel, I ventured out. The parking structure was pretty barren, but there were signs of life. It was 1 p.m on a Friday, yet it looked like a Sunday morning before the theaters had opened.

I started walking, the first thing I noticed were the arrows on the floor showing folks what directions to walk in. Many were disregarding them. I did not and when people going the wrong way approached or got near me I went out of my way to avoid them. I tried to be subtly obvious with my actions too. As I am an older lady, I try NOT to be confrontational, but I still possess the ability to be a bit of a “Missouri Mule”. I cannot help that, I was born there.

Every store had signs displaying the use of masks was required, in spite of the fact the Governor of this state has NOT mandated masks be used but requested the cooperation of the residents. IDIOT; sometimes you have to exert yourself and show you are in charge. ASKING people to do the right thing when they are “hell-bent” on doing what they want is NOT a good gameplan. However, looking at this guy’s career and election tells a story of his character. Back to the mall..I made my way to the food court; there were loads of vacant tables, I settled one row in and about three tables away from anyone. I  wiped everything down and sat. I took out my journal and a began writing, and noting what I was observing. A small group of KARENS sat at the table right next to me, I turned my back to them and sprayed my anti-bacterial spray about like  it was an air freshener. Plenty of tables, but they decided to stop at the one closest to me. I know I am being mean, for if they were true KARENS they would have called the police and claimed I assaulted them with my spritz.

The overall atmosphere was annoying to me. People are NOT nice to one another, they aren’t even trying. At best we are indifferent to one another. Looking suspiciously like we are saying”Do you have IT, why aren’t YOU wearing a mask?” We now can have these contemptible feeling and looks upon our faces and no one know, yet it shows in our behavior. We rapidly move to the place where indifference is KING. We were not connecting before COVID19; texts instead of calls,video calls instead of live in-person meetings…

After a little over an hour I left, my focus was not on anything positive or productive. Going home I could at least control my environment and NOT have people in my space disrespecting the rules and protocol for these times.

As a girl and in my youth, I remember people changing, becoming kinder around Christmas. Smiling at one another, greeting strangers, giving way to some random individual for no apparent reason. We were just nice just to be NICE! Always a welcomed change. However, in recent years this feeling and change became less and less obvious. I fear that the nasty suspicious attitudes will now become our constant, the new-normal. A very sad narrative for a race of people, the human race, to have to contend with.

Making Eye-Contact

Today as I walked through my grocery store ( my  new recreational sport) I studied the masks of folks. I purchased one with rhinestones and it is getting a LOT of attention. Honestly, I do not care about the attention. I bought it because I AM going to wear a mask in public for a long time( my opinion), so it may as well be aesthetically pleasing if only to me.

Masks are a new fashion statement. What started out as a mandatory piece for health/life’s sake has slowly evolved into our culture in another way. The brands are offering their individual logos, there is a mask for every personality. We had better get on board. Be safe and look good!

However, what is now missing is an essential part of our lives, full faces. Who is hiding behind the pieces of cloth or paper? We are anonymous. That is very sad. We were already heading in the direction of being social misfits, but this is hurling us at top speed to that  unfortunate destination.

I have chosen to go in another direction, my masks need to be bright, attention grabbers and full of personality. I find my face is tight from exaggerating smiles, smiles that no one can see. I feel ridiculous as I become aware of how big my smile is under the mask, and furthermore that no one can see that smile. They/ we can however see eyes; our eyes, the windows of our souls. What do our souls now say to the strangers we see in the stores or on the streets in many cases.

The brows and the actual eyes are the only areas we have to show expression.  One now has to make use of our limited resources. In silence or with muffled/ distorted sounds we have to greet, question, challenge, and flirt. Talk about mixed messages. The emoji industry will probably birth a new set of expressions that we can use as a guideline. For now though ladies get out your mascara, liner, shadow and GoForIt! Guys, you all are stuck, use your imaginations. I guess we had all better practice our “smeyezing“(smiling with ones eyes).

When The Toilet Paper Returns To The Store Shelves

 

The song, When The Swallow Come Back To Capistrano came to mind in the most ironic way.

There I was masked and armed with my “hanitizer” as it has been dubbed by many little ones, I observed the phenomenon. Following the one way arrows I caught a glimpse of what is seemingly unheard of…The paper aisle stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. What was even more astounding is this occurred in the late afternoon AND there were not people fighting their way over to this said aisle to “stock-up”. I walked around the store for a bit, I did not see every cart with one paper product or another inside of them. I casually went down the aisle; looking, lingering, expecting any-moment-now the other shoppers in the store would rush the aisle and I would have a somewhat advantage because I was already there. Still nothing.

Could I fool myself into believing an end is in sight? Did I dare think, “Alas, we have come through the storm and prevailed..” No, don’t be naive. In that same store many people walked around without masks, walked down aisles clearly directing them to go the other way. Seemingly existing as if Covid19 had never happened as the put themselves as well as others in danger because they do not want to follow the rules and guideline, because they don’t think this threat is real, because it is uncomfortable or troublesome. They ignore the fact the number of cases is on the rise in many places. Too bad the folks that play Russian Roulette with this situation aren’t the ones who would SOLELY be affected. When you bother to follow the rules as I do, bother to protect myself as well as others from a health risk, I feel it is reasonable to feel the way I just expressed.

Listen, no one wants this to end any faster than I. However, I would rather error on the side of caution, than to be a daredevil and buck-up against rules, regulations and NATURE. For now if you need a slice of normal,  go visit your local store and be in awe of the return of that which was taken for granted, not-so-long-ago. Toilet paper back on the shelves and people seemingly unmoved by that fact.

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